Observation of Fear Changes Brain Connectivity

In addition to my private practice I engage in lots of Disaster Response Work. This is the mental health support for persons and communities who are victims of disaster. I work with he American Red Cross supporting victims and volunteers in disaster mental health response. The article below ( while research was conducted on animals) gives scientific credence to the common sense notion that when others suffer, we suffer along with them. Empathy is a human condition and a blessed one. However, it is important to realize that when disaster strikes there are secondary and tertiary victims and you are likely one of them. Remember to take care of your self while you are responding to the stressful events of others.
Dr. Judy
Observation of Fear Changes Brain Connectivity 
PTSD can impact not only the individual who experienced the event, but also those that interact with the person, such as loved ones or caregivers. Research now shows evidence that children who watched September 11 media coverage are more likely to develop PTSD later in life when subjected with adverse events. When neural responses in mice who witnessed trauma in another mouse were examined, it was found that “observational fear physically redistributes the flow of information.”  Tim Newman, Medical News Today  01/08/2017
Read Article: Medical News Today
Posted in Articles | Comments Off on Observation of Fear Changes Brain Connectivity

Persistent ADHD and Overly Critical Parenting

In my years of treating children with ADHD I have found that working with their parents is at least as important as working with the child. Because ADHD – Combined Type (70% of cases) is truly a disruptive disorder, it often impacts the emotional health of the family. Children with ADHD- Combined Type are subject to much criticism from adults (and sometimes peers) because their behavior is disruptive and they do not meet normal expectations for behavioral control for their age. Early on, they are hearing negative feedback and are at high risk for low self esteem and oppositional defiance. Interrupting this cycle early on is a salient goal of therapy.  I work with parents to help them express their frustrations in a way that corrects behavior  without damaging their child emotionally. The following article lends credence to the need to help parents respond to their ADHD child in a way that is healing for the best long term outcome for the child and family.

Persistent ADHD and Overly Critical Parenting
While the causes of ADHD appear to be a blend of genetic and environmental factors, researchers are studying why in some children symptoms seem to disappear and others do not. The reason might be mom and dad. Researchers from Florida International University studied over three years the changing of childrens’ ADHD symptoms as it related to parents’ level of criticism and emotional involvement. The findings showed that parental emotional overinvolvement did not seem to impact a child’s ADHD symptoms, whereas sustained critical parenting was found to be associated with the continued occurrence of symptoms.  Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington Post  02/09/2016
Read Article: The Washington Post
Posted in Articles | Comments Off on Persistent ADHD and Overly Critical Parenting

Understanding Adolescent Mental Health

Understanding your adolescent can be complicated at times. “Research indicates that half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14”, says Science Daily. This article lists several studies on the topic.

depressedFrom ScienceDaily.com
Research Explores Factors That Impact Adolescent Mental Health
– reprinted from materials provided by Association for Psychological Science.

If you need help understanding the research or have questions about your child please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Judith Andrews.

Posted in Articles | Comments Off on Understanding Adolescent Mental Health

ADHD, autism, and depression share a common gene?

dna - genetic causes of mental illness, call Dr. Andrews

A recent study looked at common genetic risk factors of several common disorders reports US News & World Report. The study also included bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

You can read the whole article here:
Shared Genes May Link ADHD, Autism and Depression
by Steven Reinberg

Please contact Dr. Judy if you need help with any of these mental health issues.

Posted in Articles | Comments Off on ADHD, autism, and depression share a common gene?

New genetic study on bipolar disorder

“Scientists at King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry have now performed one of the largest ever genetic replication studies of bipolar affective disorder, with 28,000 subjects recruited from 36 different research centers.” Researchers are looking for a heritable risk for bipolar disorder in order to develop new treatments. Science Daily, Science Daily 10/15/2012 Read Article: Science Daily

Posted in Articles | Comments Off on New genetic study on bipolar disorder